Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Guitar Learning Top Tips

You want to become a good guitar player and know that you need to practice every day, but your practice routine is boring and uninspiring? You find yourself daydreaming or playing songs when you should rather be doing your exercises?So how you can make it more effective and interesting.

 Here is a short list of some tricks that may help you enjoying your practice.These tips have different impacts on different persons, so feel free to pick and choose the ones that sound interesting to you.

1. Organize Your Exercises

if you have the guitar in your hands but you are not playing, then you are wasting time and not having fun. This happens whenever you are trying to decide what exercise to play next or search through your tab collection for a particular exercise - and this happens often during practice time. I call this "pointless thinking". You are wasting time and energy, and this disturbs the flow of practice.  
the first step to make your practice more enjoyable (and efficient) is to minimize the pointless thinking.Whenever you want to practice some scales, take the "Scales" folder and practice the first exercise in it. When you are done, put the exercise you just practiced at the bottom of the folder, and the next time you open the folder you will find another exercise.

2. Write Your Own Exercises

I agree with you that there is not much fun in playing the same scale up and down a thousand times, but the solution is not to give up practice altogether.I suggest you try and write some of your own solos or songs with this idea in mind- start with short and simple pieces and gradually make them longer and more complex. The simple fact that they are pieces of music and not "plain" exercises will motivate you in mastering them. And after you master them you can show them off to your friends. 

3. Learn ONE New Thing

Sometimes the sense of boredom while practicing comes from the fact that you know all your exercise by heart and inside out. Every once in a while you need something NEW.  
Fantastic, then here's the way to do it. Learn ONE new thing. It can be from a book, from an online article, from a YouTube video. The important thing is that you learn only ONE new thing.

4. Systematic Variations

You do not always have to practice an exercise the way it is written. In fact if you play always your exercises precisely as they are, you are missing the best.  For a change you can play the same sequence on a minor scale pattern. In fact, if you know the patterns for all the modes, you can play each day a different version of the same exercise. How's that for fighting boredom? 

5. Create Practice Cycles

As we discussed above, minimizing the pointless thinking during your practice is super important. The folder system I described before is one way, but there are others. Since we have just seen how to expand exercises with systematic variations to different scales/chords, let's see also how to implement them into our practice without pointless thinking. Notice that there are 7 chords for each key (major or minor) and 7 modes for each scale. There are also 7 days in a week, which suggests that you can make Sunday your "Ionian day", Monday your "Dorian day", etc. In that day you can play only the patterns relative to that mode, or improvise only in that mode, or study the chords relative to that mode.  

6. Apply In Improvisation

Ok, so you can play this scale fast as lightning? Fine, fire up a backing track and see if you can fit this blistering scale into a real solo. Everything you can use in improvisation becomes instantly more useful. There are days that I spend doing nothing but improvising, rather than rote practicing. You need to do the same. The important thing is not technique, but the application of technique.  

7. Don't Practice for One Day

Sometimes the best practice is to not practice. Now, before you all throw your practice schedules to the wind, let me specify that this should not be the norm. You DO need to practice a lot. The point is that the final goal is not to break the guitar speed world record, but to make good music.  
Remember that you need a balance between practice and playing. With practice you increase your mechanical dexterity and your skills.


 As I said above, different persons react in a different way to these tips. It's better to get ONE idea from here and implement it TODAY than to get all of them without actually doing anything in practice. Remember that the way to mastery and self-expression goes through practice, and it is the only way to get there. 

Best of Luck

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